Charley Walters: Season’s first four games could determine futures for Vikings’ Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman

Should the Minnesota Vikings lose to the favored Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday, and on the ensuing two Sundays to superior Seahawks and Browns in Minneapolis, it would be hard to imagine owners Zygi and Mark Wilf retaining coach Mike Zimmer.

The betting here is that Zimmer could be gone before Columbus Day (Oct. 11). Presumably, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson would replace him on an interim basis.

If Zimmer, 65, is dismissed, the Vikings would be expected to bring in a young, dynamic, offensive-minded coach. And then, in the first round of next year’s draft, even if they’re still stuck with Kirk Cousins’ $35 million contract, it would seem the Vikings need to draft a quarterback. Kellen Mond, drafted in the third round last spring, doesn’t appear the answer to succeed Cousins.

The way it looks now, the Vikings will have a high pick in April’s NFL draft. Quarterbacks expected to be among the top dozen or so picks in the draft are Carson Strong of Nevada, Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma, Sam Howell of North Carolina and Malik Willis of Liberty.

The Wilfs might not have a choice with Zimmer who, incidentally, is signed through 2023. They couldn’t bring back this operation next year and expect fans to buy expensive tickets.

The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 2. There are only a half-dozen or so Vikings considered untradable — Justin Jefferson (age 22), Dalvin Cook (26), Danielle Hunter (26), Brian O’Neill (26), Eric Kendricks (29), Adam Thielen (31) and Harrison Smith (32).

Rebuilding the Vikings would also seem to include dismissal of GM Rick Spielman, perhaps temporarily replacing him with VP of football operations Rob Brzezinski, and unloading player payroll for the rest of the year.

It would be hard to trust Spielman with hiring the next coach.

The guess here is that Vikings rooters might be accepting of a rebuild if it included a new coach, a new GM and a QB drafted in the first round next April.

Darrell Thompson, the Gophers record-setting running back who went on to play five seasons for the Green Bay Packers, feels that had Mohamed Ibrahim finished this season the way he started, he could have been a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

“Absolutely!” Thompson said. “Maybe not the beginning of the first round, but a first- or second-round draft choice. With his vision, his balance, his strength. We saw his yardage (163) against Ohio State, a national championship-level team. Auburn (140 yards in Outback Bowl in 2020). He’s not had a bad game.”

The 5-10, 210-pound Ibrahim is out for the season after surgery, presumably for a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered late against Ohio State.

Thompson, 53, played with assorted injuries and now has a hip replacement.

“Ibrahim can definitely come back; it’s probably going to take almost a year,” Thompson said. “Obviously I’m not a doctor, just a guy who’s watches football. There’s a blessing to being young — the body’s going to heal. He’s going to have all the wonderful modern things that we do now — the water, the treatment, the nutrition, the stretching, making sure that all the muscles are at the same level in strength.

“One thing we never had is that they (trainers) can actually measure and say what percentage you’re at, so we’re going to work at getting everything up to the same percentage. Which is why things typically fall apart again because something’s too strong, something’s too weak. So they train you back in balance. He will come back and I think he’ll have a great NFL career if he chooses.”

In his first two games for Houston, transferred former Gophers tight end and wildcat quarterback Seth Green from Woodbury caught one pass — a nine-yarder for a TD in a 38-21 loss to Texas Tech — and had no rushes.

Ex-Gopher Chris Streveler is the No. 3 QB for the Arizona Cardinals.

QB Aiden Bouman, son of ex-Vikings QB Todd Bouman, is a 6-6, 250-pound redshirt freshman for Iowa State.

Former Gophers star Bob Stein, who will be inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas, next Saturday will be honored at Minnesota’s homecoming against Bowling Green.

Tickets for the game against Bowling Green were available for as little as $10 on Vividseats.com.

That was Jim Dutcher and his former Gophers basketball players Tommy Davis, Jim Petersen and Kelly Scott lunching at McCormick & Schmick’s in Edina last week.

Cretin grad Joe Gallagher, 57, who produced the highly successful opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National for NBC, on Tuesday was to make the 5-hour, 30-minute drive to Whistling Straits (Wis.) to work his ninth Ryder Cup next weekend. Gallagher took a St. Paul contingent of employees from his Doodle Productions company to assist in assorted capacities, including celebrity movement (Michael Jordan is expected to attend) and corporate parties.

Gallagher’s Ryder Cup schedule includes the 2023 competition in Rome.

“That one will mean it’s closer to my last Ryder Cup, in 2029, at Hazeltine,” said Gallagher, who worked his first Ryder Cup in 1995 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.

Kalen Anderson, who coached nationally ranked South Carolina to victory in the big Annika Intercollegiate women’s golf tournament at the Royal Club last week, is from Edina.

Hall of Fame former Twin Dave Winfield from St. Paul turns 70 on Oct. 3.

Hall of Fame former Twin Rod Carew, who turns 75 on Oct. 1, has begun a monthly newsletter.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch is featured speaker at the Twin Cities Dunkers breakfast on Tuesday at the Minneapolis Club.

Will Steinke from Little Falls was the officiating umpire at host Michigan’s 47-14 victory over Western Michigan.

Family reunion: Those were three of the noted St. Paul Mauer brothersTom, Mark and Jim — officiating the Minneapolis South-Roosevelt football game last week. The trio, with other brothers Ken and Brian, worked a high school game at Hastings two years ago. Tom, 61, by the way, has decided to retire after 22 years as a WNBA official.

Mike Lauren, Mike Sullivan, Scott Sanderson, Jeff Sorem, Betsy Massopust, Corrine Buie, Steve Dove and Dick Gaughran will be inducted into the Edina Hall of Fame on Thursday at Interlachen Country Club.

Hill-Murray Athletic Hall of Fame electees for induction next Sunday at the school: Greg Langevin, Vince Conway, Rod Romanchuk, Paul Thurmes, Bethany Doolittle and Tessa Cichy.

Johnson High 2021 Football Hall of Fame electees for induction Oct. 2 at White Eagle Golf Club in Hudson, Wis.: Gary Ales, Jim Gabriel, Jeff Plaschko, Tommy Reynolds, Doug Van Meter and 1989 football team.

The 50th anniversary reunion of St. Thomas Academy’s 1971 state football champions will be Oct. 8 at the game against Mahtomedi at Gerry Brown Stadium.

Former Mahtomedi pitcher Michael Baumann, 25, made his major league debut for the Orioles in relief the other day and was credited with the 7-3 victory over the Royals. Baumann was drafted by the Twins in the 34th round in 2014, declined to sign, then was chosen by Baltimore in the third round three years later after pitching for Jacksonville University, receiving a $500,000 bonus.

Former Gopher Amir Coffey of the L.A. Clippers remains a restricted free agent.

Dedication of the David R. Metzen Scholarship Hall in honor of the former South St. Paul schools superintendent will be at South St. Paul High on Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Don’t print that

With two more strikeouts entering Saturday’s game in Toronto, the Twins’ Miguel Sano will reach 1,000 for his seven major league seasons. This season, Sano has hit 29 home runs while fanning 163 times. He has 159 career homers.

Babe Ruth struck out just 1,330 times in 8,399 at-bats. Former Twins: Harmon Killebrew struck out 1,629 times in 8,147 at-bats during 22 seasons; Bob Allison 1,333 times in 5,032 at-bats in 13 seasons. Joe Mauer struck out 1,034 times in 6,930 at-bats in 15 years.

Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, who has major challenges rebuilding the Twins, is getting mentioned among candidates to oversee the Mets baseball operations.

Probable destination for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers next season is Denver, which would upset Teddy Bridgewater, who connected on 28 of 36 passes — with two drops — in a 27-13 victory over the Giants in the season opener.

People who know say Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell is the clear favorite for the USC football coaching job, for which the Gophers’ P.J. Fleck has been mentioned.

The Twins are 15-58 at Yankee Stadium the last 20 seasons, equivalent to a 33-129 record over a 162-game season, Stanzel’s Sports Takeout mentions.

The Vikings have only one decent offensive lineman: Brian O’Neill.

Chatted with Hall of Fame former Bears linebacker Dick Butkus years ago while in New York to cover filming of those memorable Miller Lite TV commercials. Butkus asked where I was from. Told Minnesota, he asked if I knew Mick Tingelhoff, the Hall of Fame former Vikings center who died last week at age 81.

“After every game I played against Tingelhoff,” Butkus said, “my jersey had fingernail holes in it from him poking me.”

Season ticket courtside seats for University of St. Thomas men’s basketball, as the school goes from Division III to Division I this season, will cost $520, reserved seat backs $325, club level $260 and reserved bench seats $156. Last season, reserved back season ticket seats cost $50.

With its move to Division I, St. Thomas’ athletic budget increases from $6 million a year to $18 million annually, and will continue to grow. Meanwhile, St. Thomas the other day lost a top financial administrator and assistant.

This really happened last week: Former Wild captains Mikko Koivu and Wes Walz and former Wild player Eric Staal were golfing with sports marketing whiz Murray Rudisill at his North Oaks Country Club. Walz and Rudisill won $25 apiece from Koivu and Staal in a match.

Sitting outside afterward enjoying a beer, Koivu placed a $50 bill on the table and said he would cover Staal’s bet, too. Two minutes later, a big wind lifted the $50 bill off the table and up over the clubhouse roof.

Rudisill quickly informed enterprising club GM Phil Anderson, who rushed up to the roof through an inside staircase to search for the $50 bill, hoping to find it because the roof is flat. The bill wasn’t found.

For $10 million this season, Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons has 390 at-bats and 15 extra-base hits. That’s still better, though, than shortstop Jackie Hernandez’s five extra base hits in 199 at-bats for the 1968 Twins.

Pssst: Not long ago, the Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov told a prominent teammate he wouldn’t re-sign for a penny less than $10 million a year.

Third baseman Jose Miranda, 23, who would cost the Twins $138,454 per game less than the $141,975 they are paying Josh Danielson, 35, through 2023, has 27 home runs and 86 RBIs while hitting .339 this season between Triple-A St. Paul and Double-A Wichita.

Minnesota’s Mark Coyle, 52, with total compensation of $1.4 million (including retirement bonuses), is the 13th highest-paid athletics director in the country, according to new analysis by athleticdirectoru.com in conjunction with USA Today and Syracuse University. Coyle, whose contract ends on June 30, 2026, is the fifth-highest paid AD in the Big Ten behind Northwestern’s Jim Phillips ($2.3 million), Ohio State’s Gene Smith ($1.85 million), Penn State’s Sandy Barbour ($1.5 million) and Michigan’s Warde Manuel ($1.45 million).

The Vikings are now worth $3.2 billion, the 18th most valuable NFL franchise, according to Sportico. The Packers are 15th at $3.5 billion. The Vikings, and every other NFL team, are projected to receive $400 million in 2023 “before selling one ticket, beer or hot dog,” Sportico reports.

The Vikings are 26th in the 32-team NFL, the Packers 11th, in Axios Sports’ power rankings.

Former first-team Gophers All-Big Ten golfer Angus Flanagan has missed seven of eight cuts during his first season on the PGA’s Forme Tour.

For his tie for 22nd in the recent PGA Tour Championship, ex-Gopher Erik Van Rooyen received a check for $466,667.

There’s a bar in Hibbing (Minn.) named the “Homer Tavern” owned by relatives of former Yankees home run slugger Roger Maris, who was born in Hibbing, but the “Homer” title has nothing to do with Maris’ home run proclivity.

Several parking lots near the Gophers football stadium are charging $20 on game days.

Overheard

Paul Holmgren, 65, the former Harding, Gopher, Saint and North Star who is senior adviser for the Philadelphia Flyers, on being announced last week that he’s been elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame: “I’ve known since June when I was back in St. Paul for a family reunion — they told me not to tell anybody — and it hasn’t sunk in even yet. It’s a tremendous honor.”


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